Most technology enthusiasts anticipated the dawn of AI with great excitement.
While we all appreciate machine learning tools that keep spam out of our inboxes and chatbots who assist us in finding the perfect golf club, modern artificial intelligence can do so much more.
I believe the next five years will see almost endless growth in the use of sophisticated forms of AI and, more importantly, solutions to problems across industries.
With over $30 billion of equity funding moving into AI-related enterprises in recent years, savvy leaders will look to AI for ways to maximize the assets they already have and reap the benefits of new ways of working.
Here, there and everywhere
The adoption of data-driven solutions for companies is already here but will increase as those mountains of data actually prove their value. The umbrella of AI is wide, and companies will look to AI and machine learning to help make sense of what they already have.
Make no mistake, AI is pervasive, and it’s here to stay, so avoiding or hiding from it is not an option. It’s going to be adopted and embedded in all of our technology going forward, so better to get on board sooner than later.
Self-service is the way forward
Wanting to get the most out of their technology investments, companies may demand AI products that democratize its inherent power across their organizations.
Collaboration means workflows are continually being streamlined; no one wants to pay for a product that only a handful of tech-savvy people can use, or that requires extensive training.
Self-service is the way forward, but only when business owners, C-suite execs, and brand marketers accept AI and appreciate what it offers. That starts by understanding the power of analytics when it's presented in an easy-to-use business application.
Once business owners get the technology in their hands, they won’t turn back.
Speed and agility count
A problem you have today may not look like the one you had yesterday or even last month. If we've learned anything over the last year and a half, it's that black swan events will occur; and using yesterday's data to solve tomorrow's problem can be futile.
When investing in AI-powered solutions, speed-to-solution and agility count, and any investment you make to solve a problem must have a direct correlation to expected accuracy and the time it takes to get there. As business situations change, the underlying data that comes into an AI solution also changes.
AI’s agility, adaptability, and responsiveness provides for a constant refresh of models, allowing you to adapt yesterday’s data to solve tomorrow’s problems.
Within the next five years, artificial intelligence is likely to become more trusted. Currently, there's a tendency for executives who see an AI output they didn’t expect to assume that it's wrong – simply because it is unexpected.
That mindset will change as business leaders become more familiar with AI and their trust level increases. We are regularly asked how an algorithm works and how recommendations are being made.
As practitioners, we understand the importance of educating customers on what we do; “explainability” is a core discipline in any AI project. As AI and all of its transparency enjoy greater acceptance, there will be more comfort and less questioning, which will move AI out of the proof-of-concept mode.
Buyer beware – look for the real deal
Data scientists will be thriving, and the bar for admission will be lower; anyone with a Kaggle account and basic pivot table skills may claim to understand data science.
Regardless of how much you rely on your internal data team or whether or not you even have one, make sure the AI technology provider you work with has the necessary credibility where it comes to AI and ML, as well as a deeper-than-surface level understanding of your industry.
Without relevant business insights and access to a global research network, you won't maximize your investment in AI. The best AI practitioners have the ability to weave alternative data sets into projects, objectively using that data by integrating a diverse group of minds on the same problem, helping you to see around corners.
While the AI landscape for business might seem fraught with uncertainty, take a deep breath and know that you can be in control by considering the principles discussed here.
The wheels are turning daily to make AI more accessible, easier for your team to use, and ever more powerful.
All that data you've been collecting? If you choose your AI-powered tools and partners with care, you're about to learn what to do with it and how they can help you succeed and pursue a greater market share.
Dan Wilson is vice president at WorldQuant Predictive, an AI predictions company that delivers accurate prediction products to allow customers to solve their business problems.